Columbus Wellness Is Making a Difference for Georgia Youth

May 7, 2018
Photo of several young women sitting at tables during a youth development program.

Columbus Wellness Center Visit disclaimer page , a Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program grantee funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s (FYSB) Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program (APP), gives Georgia youth tools and skills to help them refrain from non-marital sexual activity through its Swagga & Lace FUTURE Program. Swagga & Lace is available for youth (10 to 14 years old) that live in rural counties in GA - Marion, Sumpter, Taylor, Tolbert, and Harris. Swagga & Lace youth complete the Making a Difference! Visit disclaimer page curriculum that empowers them to adopt behaviors to help reduce their risk of pregnancy and other sexually transmitted infections. The Program Coordinator, Michael Ellison says that they “…also work really hard to help youth begin to think about what they want to do with their lives… so they can prepare themselves. We want them to begin to think about the future differently. Many of our youth have never left their neighborhoods. So, we take them to events like our state youth summit and football games. Sometimes we even hire youth that have done really well with the program. They can relate to the youth in a way that adults can’t.”

Columbus Wellness Center also offers the Making a Difference curriculum to youth at Georgia’s Youth Development Campuses (YDCs) and Regional Youth Detention Centers (RYDCs). Youth that sign up for the program complete a two-day training. Because these youths live at YDC and RYDC, they can’t go on trips to games and events. Instead, they get gift cards that can be used to buy food or other things they may need.

Last year, more than 250 youth completed the Swagga & Lace program. This year, more than 200 of Georgia’s youth will learn about leadership, responsibility and how to make healthy decisions that may help them have a better future.